Tentatio

struggle, spirituality, absurdity

Category: Inspiration in odd places (page 2 of 3)

A Musing on the Resurrection

I read somewhere that you don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. Instead, you beat it by living well. That makes sense, of course, and living life to the fullest is important to me, even though I find I am terrible at it. But while it is both inspiring and good advice, I can’t help but think that there is more to it. I’ve been reading “Surprised by Hope,” by N.T. Wright, and it has me thinking about the whole death/living thing. Actually, I’m kind of amused by how tritely I just wrote that, but oh well.

The way I see it, we can’t defeat the Reaper because it has long been defeated. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, it was not some hyper-spiritual type of resurrection I think I had inherited from an evangelical heritage. If Jesus’ resurrection was physical, which is the thrust of Wright’s book, then so will mine. After all, Baptismal theology says that I will get what Christ got – resurrection from the dead and a glorified body.

All that to say, the reaper is already defeated. Yeah, I’ll die. So will you. But it will be only temporary. I’m not sure I understand why, but that makes it somewhat easier to live a full life, and live it well.

Boogers and Westerners: An Alternative reaction to Bad-Astronomer

This is a reaction to Bad-Astronomers’ post on faith and science.

I do not intend to prove you wrong. But there are other points of view – not particularly antagonistic to science – that are rarely heard.

I don’t think we have to split faith and science dualistically. When splitting like this takes place, the result is immediate polarization, and any attempt at communication breaks down into shaking fingers furiously at one another. Then, all anyone can do is shake harder…or make a fist and shake it, because that’ll show ‘em.

[Science is] a method, a way of finding this knowledge. Observe, hypothesize, predict, observe, revise. (emphasis mine)

Defining science as a method is well put. It amazes me how rarely people understand that concept, and in an ideal situation, anyone trumpeting under the banner of science would first have to submit to this method. Granted, I do not like talking about science totally in this way, merely because “submitting to the method” reminds me of some freaky cult – which isn’t science. Engineering, maybe, but not science.

Baseless insults to engineers aside, there stand at least two huge barriers in the way of finally putting an issue like this to rest. From the way I see things, the first problem is in the fact that both sides’ uppity-ness has little to do with the conclusions made and more so in the assumptions about the other party’s assumptions. (what an obnoxious sentence)

If a person has grown up in a spiritual culture that makes a big deal about the Earth being flat, and then a scientist comes along and points out that it is, indeed, round, that person’s entire life becomes shattered. So when Chuck Darwin started spending too much time looking at finches and comes to some astonishing ideas that result in even more astonishing conclusions, does that force any implications on others in a non-scientific realm?

Maybe – or maybe not – but the immediate knee-jerk by everyone opposing C-Dawg might indicate that they merely assumed an imposed-conclusion about their spirituality. Plus, if those who aren’t scientists feel threatened and want to respond to science-based claims with their own science, do they violate their existential integrity in doing so? I say yes. Scientists can say that humanity descended from purple boogers shot from the nose of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but to what degree would that effect the notions of spiritual revelation? And if I decide that it does effect my religion, am I still religious by attacking back with more science?

There’s the rub.

The second of the huge barriers I mentioned is the strange polarization that has come to plague our intellectual realm. The one point on which scientists and creationists seem to agree is that we must choose one or the other.

Why?

Why not both/and?

Scientists might say that using both/and violates the methods on which their work rests. Theologians (conservative Christian, typically) often say that without a literal 6-day creation, then systematic theology states that “faith in Jesus” suddenly reduces to vanity.

I think the problem is that I can at least understand what both sides are saying. Spiritually, I have gained more out of life than I would have thought possible (though that is not necessarily the goal), and yet my fingers tap-tap-tap on the keyboard of my MacBook Pro – a pinnacle of science (fan-boyism aside).

Westerners love the comfort of either/or.

Tension that comes from both/and can be unsettling.

But somehow I think that the both/and tension might be the best way to go…

The Last Words of My Mentor – Live, and Live Well

My mentor, Kyle Lake, was killed in an accident on a Sunday morning, two weeks after I was diagnosed with Leukemia. The following is the message he would have given, encouraging us to live life to the fullest.

Live. And Live Well.
BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.
On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.
Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.
If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well.
At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.

–Kyle Lake, RIP.

Life is pain. Accept that and start living.

Happiness in life doesn’t come from attaining something. Striving, seeking, hard work, and extreme dedication will only earn you more of the same.

Happiness itself is really just a myth. A friend’s 10-year-old son died in a helicopter accident a few weeks ago. I will fight leukemia for the rest of my life. People are forced to live in a cyclically defeating system known as “poverty.”

All of life is absurd, and it hangs by a thread.

And yet, there is something very peaceful in that awareness. Contentment is truer joy. Being content with life means that you accept that which you cannot control.

The sooner we agree that life is hard, full of struggle, quiet desperation, pain, frustration and sadness, the sooner we can actually live our lives. Stop trying to avoid pain, and you can embrace it. If you embrace pain, you embrace life.

That is Tentatio. It is inevitable struggle, but its existence does not ensure a life dominated by pain. In fact, it guarantees a certain freedom from it.

Hey, I can respect the ‘Miss America’ program now….

    But I’m still not going to watch the show. At Huffingtonpost there is an article talking about how Miss America Lauren Nelson, 20, of Lawton, Okla., helped “America’s Most Wanted” to lure predators on the Internet. I think Dateline’s version is pretty cool, and it’s always nice to see that Miss America has some use in society. Because let’s be honest, the last time I even gave them a thought was when there was some sort of scandal.
    Ok, I don’t even know what the scandal was, or even when. The program, evidently once loved by all, has gone downhill. Scandals and such aren’t helping my generation which holds everything at arms’ length because of a tremendous amount of well deserved cynicism. I think we detect a high degree of superficiality in the whole thing but can’t necessarily vocalize what it is.
    That’s not why I write this, though. I just think that this is a good thing for her to be doing. Internet predators are many, so whatever help is appreciated

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